At the not-for-profit animal shelter in Carmel, near the multi-BU Croton River Center operations in Brewster, NY, about 100 dogs and cats are cared for on a daily basis. The shelter is operated by the Putnam Humane Society that was set up in 1957 with a mission of providing care and protection to animals that have been neglected, abused or abandoned. The primary aim of the Society is to find adoptive homes for the animals in its care. It takes pride in being a ‘no kill’ shelter, meaning that animals are only put down for medical reasons, not because of shortage of space. The original animal shelter was housed in a small barn. In the mid-1970s it moved to its present site in Carmel and has expanded there when funds and space were available.
The Society has contractual arrangements with several Putnam County towns to shelter lost and stray dogs brought in under NY State law. Funding comes from these contracts, from Putnam County, and from individual members of the public. Some of our colleagues in Brewster are familiar with the shelter and they were wondering if they could be of assistance in improving the conditions of the building. In discussions with some official representatives they learned that there was one immediate need: new flooring for the entire facility.
The workforce in Brewster, consisting of employees from Surface Chemistry, Functional Chemicals and Pulp and Performance Chemicals, has been quite active in the Putnam community since they moved there in 2006/2007, engaging with many different groups. In 2011 our volunteering colleagues were even ‘awarded’ by the Community Action Program when they had run a soup kitchen during the Christmas period, providing dinner for about 50-60 needy people over several days. Their sustainable involvement in the Green Chimneys program, encouraging students’ interest in science, was much appreciated in the community. It can be said that our Brewster colleagues are highly motivated to reach out in their community and they were also quick to respond to the needs of the animal shelter.
With support from the Community Program the new flooring materials and its installation by a specialist company could be financed. The volunteers agreed to help move the animals and furniture during the operation. Accordingly, ten Akzo Nobel volunteers set out to move the cages of dogs and cats and other associated items while the new floor was installed. Some dogs were very lucky to have found a number of volunteers taking the time to take them out for their afternoon outing into the surrounding countryside.
Providing a safe and clean environment for the abused and neglected animals gave the volunteers a feeling of great satisfaction. The saying that a dog is a man’s best friend can be reversed in Putnam where our colleagues have demonstrated that they undoubtedly are the dogs’ best friends!